Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tino Tuesday #45: 1998 Topps #236

This is one of my favorite cards of Tino Martinez of my favorite moment of his career. In Game One of the 1998 World Series, with the game knotted at 5 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Mark Langston delivered the perfect 2-2 pitch to Tino Martinez. I admit, it probably should have been called strike three. But it wasn’t. The ump called it ball three. The next pitch, Tino sent the ball into the upper deck in right field. From that moment on, the series was pretty much over. The no-call was a back breaker so early in the series.

I’ll never forget watch the ball leave Tino's bat. I know exactly where I was watching from in my house…up on the landing from the dining room that looked down into the family room. See the fans go crazy and beer spray everywhere, and the jubilation of not only the crowd, but of Tino’s Yankee teammates. They were jumping around like kids.

Tino came out for a curtain call, and I remember just being so emotional and having goose bumps. When you see your hero do something of that magnitude, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. There are a few cards that mention this moment, but this card captures it perfectly. The swing. Both Tino and Carlos Hernandez watching the ball disappear. And on the back, the intensity that made Tino so loved.

The card itself was part of Series One, but had a different look than the base cards. I think that's kind of cool. Nowadays, everything looks like the regular base cards but with a little line of text under it, such as "Most games played has a Yankee." I like having a slightly different look for the World Series cards (or other season achievements).

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